We had the good fortune of connecting with Mikayla Cunningham and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Mikayla, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
My art is a direct reflection of who I am. To put my innermost thoughts and feelings on display for the judgment and interpretation of random strangers is always a scary thing, especially when the subject matter is so personal. As a queer artist who hasn’t always been out, it used to be a juggling act deciding which pieces I could post without “outing” myself and which were safe. I think much of that internal struggle is reflected in my artwork. I’ve identified as bisexual for a while now, but only in the past few years have I finally felt comfortable revealing some of my more queer-coded artwork, and just this past year came out to my family. I’m happy to finally be in a place where I can be my authentic self, despite the risk of harassment and hate.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve been an artist my entire life and my medium of choice is always changing. I have a unique style of painting, in that I’m not really sure what it is I’ll be creating until it’s finished, and pieces are usually completed – start to finish – within the hour. I paint fast and use lots of layers, so I need the paint to dry fast which makes acrylic my medium of choice right now. It’s chaotic and messy, but it’s fun! Nothing is ever perfect and I don’t think anyone should ever try for that in the first place.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
SHORT LEASH HOT DOGS! Best fried pickles in Phoenix, without a doubt! For drinks I’d take you to King’s Beer and Wine. They have over 70 local brews on tap and some of the best prices in the city. Plus, everything at the bar is sold in the adjoining convenience store for market price (not some markup).

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My best friend, Hanan, has probably been the biggest influence on my artwork as well as my personal growth. Who knows where I’d be without her! My family, who have all loved and supported me in my coming out this past year 💗

Instagram: elementalmagic_art

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